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15, 16 October – Daily National and International Current Affairs

National

Oct 15: The ECP suspended the membership of as many as 337 lawmakers for their failure to submit their statements of assets and liabilities

Among the suspended lawmakers are sixty-six members of the National Assembly, 22 senators, 137 members of the Punjab Assembly, 49 members each of the Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies and 14 members of the Balochistan Assembly.

Prominent names

  1. Federal Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastagir Khan
  2. Minister of State for Capital Administration and Development Division Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry
  3. Minister of State for Religious Affairs Pir Aminul Hasnat
  4. Minister of State for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali
  5. Minister of State for National Health Services Regulation and Coordination Saira Afzal Tarar
  6. Minister of State for Petroleum Jam Kamal
  7. Leader of the Opposition Syed Khurshid Ahmed Shah
  8. Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmad
  9. Chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology Maulana Mohammad Khan Sheerani
  10. Former speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza
  11. PTI leader Dr Arif Alvi
  12. Talal Chaudhry
  13. Shehryar Afridi
  14. Shizra Mansab Ali
  15. Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui
  16. Ali Raza Abidi
  17. Maiza Hameed

Why Suspension?

Under the Representation of People Act, all members are required to submit to the ECP statements of assets of their own, their spouses and dependents annually by Sept 30, and the ECP is required to issue a notification by Oct 15 to suspend membership of those who fail to do so by the due date.

Oct 15: Ali Yaldram and Masood Mallhi from Punjab University’s Institute of Communication Studies (ICS) bagged an international award for a radio drama depicting Pakistan’s struggle to cope with the growing scourge of militancy.

Oct 15: A report by the World Economic Forum ranked Pakistan among 12 most dangerous countries in the world.

Oct 16: The IMF in its ‘scorecard’ of Pakistan`s structural reforms programme, launched under its three-year Extended Fund Facility, revealed that the losses incurred by three major public sector entities (PSEs) the PIA, Pakistan Railways and Pakistan Steel Mills have surged to about Rs705 billion in three years despite continuous injection of funds into the organisations.

This is in addition to around Rs660bn debt piled up in the accounts of power sector companies, of which Rs348bn has beenaccumulated in three years, even though consumer tariffs have repeatedly been increased.

Oct 16: Pakistan became the first head of the Saarc’s Anti Corruption Forum (ACF) for a year.

Oct 16: Comrade Lakhano Behrani — one of the first flag-bearers of leftist movements in Sindh — passed away.

About Behrani

  1. Behrani was a proactive student activist and fan of China’s founding father Chairman Mao Tse-tung (Mao Zedong).
  2. He actively took part in the 1968 Sindh University students movement, known as the ‘March 4 movement’ and then all other movements launched by the Communist Party of Pakistan (CPP) and other leftist outfits.
  3. Behrani also played a prominent role in mobilising the masses during the ‘Anti-One Unit Movement, Movement for the Restoration of Democracy and anti-Kalabagh dam campaign.
  4. He was a lawyer by profession and remained president of the Thatta Bar Association for four terms.

Oct 16: A two-member bench of the Sindh High Court has passed a landmark judgment to lay down a detailed mechanism for fixing prices of essential medicines in the country, especially medicines for hepatitis C.

Highlights of the Judgment

  1. Access to affordable medicine is a fundamental right protected under Articles 9 and 14 of the country’s Constitution.
  2. Generic companies should be immediately granted licenses to either import or produce the same medicine in Pakistan for their requested price of Rs 17,604.
  3. While generic manufacturers were waiting for issuance of licenses, one company was allowed by the drug authorities concerned to import patented molecule and sell this medicine at extremely higher prices. This was against public interest and in violation of public rights to have medicines provided to them at affordable prices and that it also failed to take benefits provided under Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) agreement of which Pakistan is a member.

The politics of medicine pricing

International

 Oct 15: A historic global climate deal was reached in Kigali, Rwanda at the Twenty-Eighth Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (MOP28).

Highlights

  1. The Kigali Amendment, which amends the 1987 Montreal Protocol aims to phase out Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a family of potent greenhouse gases by the late 2040s.
  2. The deal divides countries into three groups with different deadlines to reduce the use of factory-made hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) gases.

First group: It includes richest countries like US and those in European Union (EU). They will freeze production and consumption of HFCs by 2018. They will reduce them to about 15% of 2012 levels by 2036.

Second group: It includes countries like China, Brazil and all of Africa etc. They will freeze HFC use by 2024 and cut it to 20% of 2021 levels by 2045.

Third group: It includes countries India, Pakistan, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia etc. They will be freezing HFC use by 2028 and reducing it to about 15% of 2025 levels by 2047.

Under the pact, developed nations, including much of Europe and the United States, commit to reducing their use of the gases incrementally, starting with a 10 per cent cut by 2019 and reaching 85 per cent by 2036.

Oct 15: World Anaesthesia Day was observed.

About the Day

  1. Anesthesia Day commemorates the first successful demonstration of ether anesthesia on October 16, 1846.
  2. This ranks as one of the most significant events in the history of medicine, which took place at the Massachusetts General Hospital, home of the Harvard School of Medicine.
  3. The discovery made it possible for patients to obtain the benefits of surgical treatment without the pain associated with an operation.
  4. Discovery of anaesthetic allowed the further development of painless surgical treatment.
  5. The date (16 October) is now globally recognised as World Anaesthesia Day in respect of the importance of this event.

Oct 15: The International Day of Rural Women is observed

2016 Theme: “Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too”.

Background

  1. The first International Day of Rural Women was observed on 15 October 2008.
  2. The day was constituted by the UN General Assembly by passing resolution 62/136 in December 2007.
  3. The Millennium development agenda highlighted gender equality and women’s empowerment; likewise, the Post-2015 agenda clarifies that rural women are critical to the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Oct 15: The White Cane Safety Day was celebrated across the world.

About the Day

  1. The day highlights the problems, needs and requirements of visually impaired people.
  2. It is a national observance in the United States, celebrated on October 15 of each year since 1964.
  3. The day celebrates the achievements of people who are blind or visually impaired and the important symbol of blindness and tool of independence, the white cane.
  4. On October 6, 1964, a joint resolution of the U.S. Congress, H.R. 753, was signed into law.
  5. This resolution authorized the President of the United States to proclaim October 15 of each year as “White Cane Safety Day”.
  6. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the first White Cane Safety Day proclamation.
  7. In 2011, White Cane Safety Day was also named Blind Americans Equality Day by President Barack Obama.

Oct 15: Brazil won the inaugural BRICS U-17 Football Tournament 2016 held at Goa on the occasion of the 8th BRICS summit.

Oct 16: Honda rider Marc Marquez won the Japanese Grand Prix, securing his third MotoGP championship in four years.

Oct 16: Andy Murray defeated Spanish 15th seed Roberto Bautista Agut to win a third Shanghai Masters title.

Oct 16: Russian energy giant Rosneft Oil Company agreed to acquire India’s second biggest private oil firm Essar Oil in an all-cash deal valued at about US $13 billion.

Highlights

  1. This acquisition is the largest ever foreign acquisition in India and also is the single largest foreign investment in the Indian refining sector.
  2. It is Russia’s largest outbound or foreign acquisition deal.
  3. With this, Rosneft becomes third international player after Royal Dutch and Shell and British Petroleum to enter Indian fuel retailing market.

Oct 16: India and Russia signed 16 agreements across diverse sectors including in defence, infrastructure, energy, space, ship building sectors etc.

Oct 16: The World Food Day was observed globally

About the Day

  1. World Food Day celebrates the creation of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on October 16, 1945 in Quebec, Canada.
  2. It was established in November 1979 by FAO’s Member Countries at the 20th General Conference of FAO.
  3. Since 1979, this Day has been observed in almost every country by millions of people.

2016 Theme: “Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too”.

About FAO

  1. FAO is an agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger.
  2. Its parent organization is UN Economic and Social Council (UNESC).
  3. It is neutral forum serving both developed and developing countries where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and debate policy.

Established: 16 October 1945.

Headquarters: Rome, Italy.

Motto: “Let there be bread“.

Members: 194 member states, along with the European Union (member organization)

Oct 16: The Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, dissolved the country’s parliament, setting the stage for an early election.

Oct 16: Former women’s tennis world No 1 Caroline Wozniacki won the Hong Kong Open.

Oct 16: India signed a defence deal worth nearly Rs 39,000 crore with Russia to purchase five state of art S-400 ‘Triumf’ air defence systems.

Besides, India also announced to collaborate in making four stealth frigates and setting up a joint production facility for making Kamov helicopters under Make in India.

Oct 16: The eighth BRICS summit concluded in Goa, India. Goa Declaration was adopted at the end of the summit.

Theme: “Building Responsive, Inclusive and Collective Solutions”.

About BRICS

  1. BRICS is the acronym for an association of five major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
  2. The BRIC designation was first coined by Jim O’Neil of Goldman Sachs in a 2001 paper titled “The World Needs Better Economic BRICs.”
  3. It was established in2009.
  4. Originally it was known as BRIC before the inclusion of South Africa in 2011.
  5. The first formal summit was held in Yekaterinburg, Russia.
  6. The BRICS members are all developing or newly industrialised countries and all five are G-20 members.

Oct 16: First-ever BRICS-BIMSTEC Outreach Summit was also held on the sidelines of 2016 BRICS Summit in Goa, India.

BIMSTEC stands for Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation. BIMSTEC member countries are Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal.

Oct 16: The BRICS countries agreed to set up an independent BRICS Rating Agency in its efforts to challenge western hegemony in the world of finance.

  1. The BRICS Rating Agency will be based on market-oriented principles to strengthen the global governance architecture.
  2. It will be launched as per the shared vision of the BRICS nations for institution-building to transform global financial architecture based on the principles of fairness and equity.
  3. It will assist BRICS and other countries to rate infrastructure and sustainable projects in the emerging economies. Thus, it will further bridge the gap in global financial architecture

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